The Medford Water Commission (MWC) supplies drinking water to over 140,000 people and has two sources – Big Butte Springs (a year-round source near Butte Falls) and the Rogue River (water is withdrawn near TouVelle State Park, in the summer months only). Both of these sources are extremely high-quality – Big Butte Springs is a pristine, protected groundwater source, and the Rogue River is very clean and unpolluted compared with most surface water sources in the nation. Protection of water supply sources is the most effective way to ensure clean, reliable drinking water into the future. Watershed protection reduces the costs of treatment, improves the quality of the finished water, protects public health, and provides many other benefits like recreation, aesthetics, and fish and wildlife habitat.
To protect our watersheds MWC supports and sponsors many conservation and environmental restoration projects in the Rogue Valley. MWC works with numerous partners on restoration, planning and monitoring projects. Examples include streambank and instream restoration in Little Butte Creek with the Rogue River Watershed Council and the City of Eagle Point, sediment load modelling in the Upper Rogue Basin with The Freshwater Trust, source water assessment and planning with the Rogue Valley Council of Governments, native plant restoration on MWC’s vernal pool mitigation preserve with the Rogue Native Plant Partnership, and forest management in Big Butte Springs watershed with the U.S. Forest Service and private industrial timber owners, to name a few.
The Rogue Basin Partnership has provided funding and encouragement for many projects benefiting drinking water in the Rogue Basin, from coordination of conservation organizations to direct funding of planning and restoration projects. MWC’s membership in RBP helps connect them with partners, stay informed of current initiatives and funding sources, and identify resources and ways to get good projects done.